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European studies on risks of hepatocellular carcinoma
Date:10/21/2011

uses in the population."

In an accompanying editorial, Morris Sherman, M.D., and Josep M. Llovet, M.D., of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine write that this study's results are consistent with those from other epidemiological studies, but that the numbers need to be put into context.

Specifically, the editorialists caution against giving too much importance to smoking as a risk factor of hepatocellular carcinoma, since in this cohort, smoking was present in a large proportion of the population, thereby making the attributable risk more substantial than it might have otherwise been. If fact, they point out that no studies to date support the notion that smoking is a stand-alone risk factor for liver cancer. They also stress that the study does not explore combinations of risk factors in defining disease risk. Still, the data on smoking are noteworthy, they conclude. "We should be counseling our patients who have other risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma to quit smoking. Of course, there are many other health reasons to stop smoking. Here is one more."

A second study on hepatocellular carcinoma in this issue of the Journal confirms the association between hepatitis B and hepatocellular carcinoma among a population cohort in Greenland. However, the study also finds that the Greenlanders studied have a relatively low incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma compared to those in other parts of the world, suggesting that a more benign course of Hepatitis B infection is prevalent in Greenland and accounts for the lower incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma there.

Marlene M. Brresen, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Epidemiology Research at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, and colleagues, looked at a population of 8879 Greenlanders enrolled in populated-based serum surveys in 1987 and in 1998, who were followed until 2010. The researchers checked them for hepatitis B status, and found that those who were HBV positive had a much
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Contact: Kristine Crane
jncimedia@oxfordjournals.org
301-841-1287
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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